Monday, September 28, 2020

YMCA School Care Program Shows Growth After Two Years

By Mary Ross Wilson and Alden Maloney interns;

The Oxford YMCA is uniting the Lafayette and Oxford communities with safe and inclusive spaces for parents to send their children after school.

The YMCA has joined with a number of schools in the Oxford and Lafayette area to provide an after school program for children to learn and blossom as individuals. 

The schools involved in the Oxford School District include Bramlett Elementary, Della Davidson Elementary, Oxford Elementary and Oxford Intermediate School. The Lafayette School District includes Lafayette Elementary School and Lafayette Upper Elementary School.

“The Y’s program is centered around teaching the youth to grow personally, learn values, support academic success, appreciate diversity, improve personal and family relationships, build and develop specific skills and last but not least, have fun,” said Leslie Kennedy, Operations Director of the YMCA.

Kennedy said the goal of the program is to have experimental learning to support academic success with a balanced approach to learning and physical activity.

A major part of the Y’s mission surrounding this program is inclusiveness. The only limitation is the 5-12 age requirement. 

“We are inclusive to everyone. We will never turn anyone away,” Kennedy said. 

Low-income families with children can always be involved in the program. Kennedy urges families not to worry about the program’s price. After school care is $30 per week while before and after school care is $50 per week. For those who may require assistance, follow the link to the income-based form.  Kennedy said the YMCA specifically offers reduced rates based on income for families who may be struggling to find a safe place for their children.

The school care program began two years ago and has grown tremendously in the last year.

“When we started we had about 170 children in our program and now we have over 600,” Kennedy said.

Many after school programs are only provided during the school year, but the YMCA program runs year-round. This provides parents with the ease of finding daycare during the summer when school is out.

The after school program has made such an impact on the community in the past two years and has become a special place for so many families, Kennedy said.

“The YMCA after school program is so much more than just a typical after school program,” Oxford resident Laine Mitchell said. “The Y has become a place where my kids never want to leave because of the friendships they have made and the staff that loves on them like their own.”